The accreditation process and what it means for you
By Deana Johnson
Ripon College has experienced many changes over the last couple of years. With administrators, faculty, staff, and a national board all working to make sure all changes are being made for the betterment of the students in many ways.
Every ten years, Ripon College — like many colleges around the United States — go through an accreditation process to renew its accreditation. Being accredited means that Ripon College meets various requirements to demonstrate that it is evolving and supporting students in all required areas.
According to the Higher Learning Commission, the board that accredited institutions, these areas consist of: the mission of the college and how that mission is incorporated into everyday life on campus; integrity: ethical and responsible conduct to make sure that all students are treated fairly; teaching resources and support Ripon provides for their students; student improvement and growth academically; and overall future plan for the college.
Dean Rebecca Matzke, who is in charge of putting all the pieces together to make sure Ripon College is able to get reaccredited said, “It gets the whole community on campus to be thinking of ways to better improve the college.”
Dean Matzke explained that since the last ten year evaluation, Ripon has had faculty, staff, and even students come together to look at both the good and bad of Ripon College to better come up with ideas to make sure that students are getting the most out of Ripon College. Some of these changes consist of; Wilmore’s growing connections with the Ripon community to get students to interact with different people and make those connections, the Franzen Center that gives a dedicated facility to helping students get tutoring, practice oral reports, and even have peers proof read work.
“The college has also re-defined its catalyst program and gave more structure to what they truly want students to get out of the curriculum. They also particularly look at student growth within the catalyst program which is why there are pre-tests, post-tests, and even surveys.” according to Dean Matzke.
To get re-accredited two things must happen. The school must send in a 4,000-word report regarding Ripon College as a whole, along with many documents regarding admissions, student diversity, and overall student related documents. After this the High Education Commission will send several members to campus Nov. 11 and 12 to “…get honest impressions of the experience of being here.” as Dean Matzke put it.
Accreditation for a college means that its students are more likely to be able to transfer credits, more likely to get into a graduate school, and can be a factor in future employment, according to Dean Matzke.
“An accredited institution can receive federal funding for their students, pell grants, grants, and any aid that you receive from the FAFSA, the federal government wants to apply that to accredited institutions” Matzke said.
The college has made efforts to ensure that it is fulfilling its mission statement by being an institution which “prepares students of diverse interests for lives of productive, socially responsible citizenship. Our liberal arts curriculum and residential campus create an intimate learning community in which students experience a richly personalized education.”